Fewer than 1 in 5 property managers say tenants are a top priority, yet nearly 50% say growth is the most critical issue they face. This disconnect shows up often in tenant satisfaction scores. 90% of renters between the ages 18 – 34 have at least one regret about renting. Common sources of rental dissatisfaction include high rent, small properties, lack of parking, unresponsive landlords, and the length of leases. And while many of those complaints are hard to improve, property managers can impact tenant satisfaction with a focus on improving the tenant customer journey. From search to sold, there are opportunities to improve the experience and in turn, improve your tenant testimonials, reviews, and satisfaction scores.
Let’s take a look at the customer journey—the current experience of tenants and how you can improve each step.
The current tenant experience: Most often, the search for housing begins online. It may start with a Google search like, “apartments for rent in (__ town)” or, “rentals near me.” From there, rental options appear in the Google Map Pack, websites are visited, listings are viewed, apps may even be downloaded if the user is on a mobile device. The discovery phase can be scattered, but more importantly, it can often be frustrating for the tenant. Multiple clicks, hard-to-find contact information, and listings that don’t include all of the information the tenant needs add to the frustration during the search.
How you can improve it: Make your property more findable with a strategy to show up on the first page of search results. Google prioritizes organic listings based on location, relevance, reviews, and other SEO specific terms. To maximize your chances of a higher ranking, focus on improving the quality and quantity of your reviews.
A good place to start? Ask for reviews via text. Texting has nearly a 100% open rate—asking for reviews via text is one of the fastest ways to increase the quantity of your reviews and improve your search ranking. Personalize and automate the text to be sent a few months into a lease, after a contract ends, or at another logical time for tenants.
Example: Review request via text
- Property Manager: Hi Lisa, thanks for choosing Canyon View Property Management. Could you take 30 seconds to leave us a review using the link below?
(link – let us know how we’re doing!)
- Lisa Hicks (Renter): “I’ve lived in apartments managed by Canyon View for 2 years and have loved my experience. Very responsive.”
Bonus tip: Improve the current tenant search experience by including as much detail as possible on your property listings. This way, tenants can self-serve and contact you when they’re ready to convert (as opposed to reaching out for more info and getting a sales pitch they’re not ready for). Detailed listings start the relationship with tenants on the right foot and demonstrate your policy of transparency.
2. Pre-purchase communication
The current tenant experience: After exploring their options (considering amenities, price ranges, locations, pictures, etc.), a tenant will typically evaluate their list of properties and decide which locations they will request more information about.
For each listing, the potential tenant may fill out a contact form, send an email, or call an office. And this is where it gets frustrating for tenants—response times vary widely. Emails get lost in inboxes, calls are returned while tenants are at work, and contact forms are buried in other website updates a property manager is required to oversee.
How you can improve it: Eliminate wait times and extra steps with the most-used channel for communication—texting. Add a textable number to your Google My Business listing and website, enable click-to-message features through Apple Business Chat, Google Messages, and/or webchat, and include your text number on all ads or listings.
Rather than processing one more notification or placing potential renters on hold, consider automating bots to answer FAQs and schedule virtual or in-person house tours over text. This way, you’ll be able to respond in real time, even after business hours. And for questions that do require a human response, you can connect potential tenants with a member of your staff.
Example: Schedule video chat meetings or house tours
- Renter: I’m interested in the condo on Main Street. Could I do a video chat tour sometime this week?
- Property Manager: Thanks for reaching out, Tiffany. How does Thursday at 11 AM sound?
- Renter: That’s great.
- Property Manager: Perfect, we’ll send a video-chat invite Thursday morning.
The current tenant experience: The farther into the conversion funnel a potential tenant goes, the more they face hidden fees, application delays or denials, and the hassles of the approval process. Between applications for multiple properties, varying communication channels (emails, messages, phone calls, app notifications, portals, etc.), tour scheduling, slow response times, and a competitive market, it’s easy for tenants to feel that they’ve wasted a lot of time and effort as they search for a new place to live. And once a rental has been selected and the tenant has been approved, collecting the first month’s rent and security deposit is often handled in person with a check, at a specific website, or through another arduous process. It’s inconvenient and delays the process even more.
How you can improve it: There’s no reason applications and leases can’t be signed and completed virtually—especially in today’s world. And, although security deposits, fees, and rent payments are inevitable, the collection process shouldn’t be a pain for your tenants. Consider implementing mobile payment links—they’re clearer, more convenient, and faster than current payment methods in property management. End-to-end encryption ensures complete security, and the convenience of texting is extremely likely to boost tenant satisfaction rates.
Example: Security deposits paid via text message
Hi Tim, thanks for renewing your lease with us! Your first rent payment can be completed using this link. Let us know if you have any questions.
(Payment request – January 2021 rent $1200)
The current tenant experience: Once the tenant finds a place to rent, signs the lease, and moves in, the post-purchase communication begins—maintenance requests, apartment checks, paying rent, and receiving continual updates about the property until the tenant moves and the cycle repeats. For many tenants, this experience is frustrating. The property manager is hard to get in touch with, there isn’t a clear communication process, and disgruntled tenants head to Google reviews when they have a bad experience.
How you can improve it: Don’t wait for tenants to leave or write negative online reviews. Check in regularly and ask for feedback and suggestions via text. See what’s going well and what operations could improve. Asking for feedback shows your tenants that you aim to please and are invested in their satisfaction.
Aside from collecting feedback, you might also consider using your textline for maintenance requests and updates. This centralizes your communications and relieves tenants of creating one more portal account to remember, email to write, or trip to make to the office.
Example: Maintenance request via text
- Renter: Hi, it’s Kate in apartment 403. My heater has not been working since yesterday. Can you come take a look?
- Property Manager: So sorry about that, Kate! Yes, we’ll send someone first thing tomorrow morning at 8.
Happy tenants leave positive reviews, send referrals, and re-sign their leases more frequently. Implement all of these tips with the help of Podium’s messaging tools and interaction management platform. Try it out for free today with Podium Starter.